How many times have you stopped yourself from doing what you love because it’s not a part of your career path? Or perhaps, it’s something you like, but think you are not sufficiently good at it to become a ‘professional’?
I’ve done this many times.
I’d played a violin since age 5. In my first year, I performed a piece from the third year programme and won a national competition. At age 12, I graduated from the music school and played a piece taught in conservatoire. My school director was so impressed that he had talked about my performance to a friend. A few days later, he stopped by our house and said I was offered a job in a symphony orchestra with a possibility of travelling abroad (during the Soviet regime!). My grandma said it could happen only over her dead body. Music was a hobby; it was not a vocation for a girl. To travel abroad unaccompanied by my family members was out of question. Even though I was offered a salary that was four times more than the average salary in my family, she was adamant.
‘You’ll go abroad and return with a bunch of bastards. No way!’
Just to be on a safe side, my family did not buy me a violin upon graduation from the music school. My talent wavered away. I often wonder how my life could have panned out if I had been allowed to pursue that opportunity. At any rate, the experience left me weary of doing things which were not likely to be ‘useful’ in my line of job.
Although I loved dancing, for years I stopped myself. Singing? The same. Painting? I was rubbish in my art classes. Photography? Wait, I didn’t even have a proper camera for many years. So, I stifled my creativity doing only things I ‘should’ have been doing.
I broke this pattern a few years ago. I signed up to do a contemporary dance class. I watched a contemporary dance performance on Tele and was completely smitten by the routine. I had to do it. And so long as I didn’t see my reflection in the mirror, I thought I did pretty well. I then went on to dance at Five Rhythms’ classes, where the invitation was to follow your heart and body. I felt at home on the dance floor. Last year, I did several courses on experimental painting and I am now proudly displaying several creations across the house. I started singing in a choir. I believe I grow wings after each session. Oh, and photography in nature fills my heart with joy every day. I hope photos in this month’s posts show that.
OK, I am not going to be a ‘professional’ in any of these pursuits. But what if doing what we love is as much a part of our vocation as the job itself? I am confident that all these ‘hobbies’ enrich my creativity, stimulate the imaginative part of my brain and make me better at writing.